Lamar under scrutiny with ‘Humble’


Seven-time Grammy award winner, Kendrick Lamar, is under scrutiny for his new rap song, “Humble.”

The music video to “Humble” was released last week. The lyrics read “I’m so f***in’ sick and tired of the Photoshop, show me somethin’ natural like the afro on Richard Pryor, show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.” The music video mirrors the lyrics with images of a black woman with a bare face and stretch marks.

Unhappy women took to scrutinizing Lamar over these lyrics on Twitter. Stating that “black women are not here for your visual or sexual pleasure.” And that this song is “just another example of Black men giving women directives on how to present themselves to the world based on what men find attractive.”

However, in a world where we as women feel incredible pressure to live up to advertisements, magazines and our favorite billion-dollar bodied celebs, could Lamar just be telling us to love ourselves the way we are?

Many women are ashamed of stretch marks, afraid to wear their hair natural, and are too insecure to walk out of the house without makeup. And while wearing weave or extensions, makeup or deciding to get rid of your stretch marks doesn’t make you any less of a woman … embracing natural beauty doesn’t make you any less of a woman either.

In fact, I don’t believe that Lamar was victimizing or demeaning women who aren’t natural, but rather pointing out Photoshop means being something online or in print that you are not in person. Pointing out that Photoshop being a cheap quick fix for what one deems a flaw or a personal insecurity that puts unrealistic beauty standards on women.

In 2014, The Renfrew Center conducted a survey that said that 48 percent of adults Photoshop their pictures before posting them online. In 2015, that went up to 68 percent and recently Snapchat just posted an article speaking about Photoshop’s impact on body image in young people stating that more than 80 percent of images we see online are retouched in some way.

There have been many campaigns embracing body image in women such as Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” campaign, Dove’s “Redefine beauty”, Aerie “Aerie Real” the “Body Gossip” campaign. These all embrace women of all colors, heights, sizes, ages, and so forth.

Specifically, Dove’s “Redefine Beauty” campaign took middle school aged girls and had them pick something they normally hide about themselves in a selfie, embrace it, and post it. It also ignited discussion between the daughters and mothers.

Lamar is stating in his song for women to embrace themselves without the unrealistic beauty standards Photoshop sets, just as these campaigns are. And he deserves credit, not scrutiny.